Taking Charge Of The Situation

| AL, USA | Working | April 20, 2014

(At the beginning of summer, my husband and I join a gym which has a chain around the country. It is supposed to be $30 a month for both of us. In November, I notice they have charged us an additional $80. I do banking online and it happened on a Friday, but I caught it on Sunday. I call them a few hours before closing.)

Worker: “Thanks for calling [Gym].”

Me: “Hi. I saw a charge from you guys for $80. I need that removed. I never authorized that and don’t know what it’s for.”

Worker: “That was probably an equipment maintenance fee. They usually come out towards the end of the year.”

Me: “Um, no one ever told us about that. We were only supposed to be $15 a month per person, plus the $50 sign-up fee per person.”

Worker: “Well, it’s on all the contracts. Our computers are down right now. Can someone call you back when they come up?”

Me: “Fine. My number is [number].”

(Come Monday evening, I still have not heard back, so I call again.)

Worker #2: “Thanks for calling [Gym].”

Me: “Hi, there was an unauthorized charge of $80 on my account that no one told me about. It needs to be removed.”

(He then looks up my account and tells me some crap about because their monthly fees are so low, they charge this supplemental fee to ‘lock in’ our cheaper rate, because they have more expensive packages that include tanning that I’m not on. And furthermore it’s a totally legitimate charge, even though no one told us about it. He gives me the phone number for ‘billing’. I call it and sit on hold for 11 minutes, and then the line disconnects. I call again and hit the number for voicemail, which then immediately disconnects. I call the gym back.)

Me: “Hey, I just spoke with you a little while ago. That number for billing doesn’t work, so I need you to get a manager or something to take the charge off.”

Worker #2: “One won’t be in until tomorrow at 10.”

Me: “Fine, I’ll call again then.”

(The next day, my husband goes there himself at 10. I’m not with him because I’m at work. He explains the situation to the manager.)

Manager: “Funny how all new customers seem to ‘conveniently’ forget about that charge! I’ve got a business to run here; I can’t just give out money! What have you even been DOING? You have to walk through that door for this thing to work! Best I can do is give you a free consultation with a trainer.”

Husband: “You were supposed to do that anyway months ago when we signed up and that never happened.”

Manager: “Well, that’s all you’ll get.”

(My husband then leaves and calls me to tell me what happened and to ask if I want to take that offer. I immediately call the gym and inform them that I need to cancel both of our memberships immediately. They say I have to physically go down there to do that. We both show up after I get off work. I notice they have a whiteboard which says they’re under new management. We speak to a different worker we’ve never talked to before.)

Me: “We need to cancel both of our memberships.”

Worker #3: “Oh, no. Can I ask why?”

Me: “Because you charged us $80 without telling us about it and refuse to remove it.”

Worker #3: “Can I get my manager?”

Me: “No, my husband tried earlier today and was insulted! All we need to do is cancel our memberships.”

Worker #3: “When did you join?”

Me: “Beginning of summer sometime.”

Worker #3: “Hmm, yes. That charge usually comes out about three months after members join. I’m surprised no one told you about it. Do you remember you signed you up?”

Me: “Yup, that guy.” *points to the guy standing right next to her helping someone else*

(We then filled out paperwork agreeing to cancel our contracts and are told that we will be charged for one more month because they have a 30-day cancellation notice. We argued back and forth because the paperwork said we were subject to a cancellation fee, even though we were told at sign-up that there was none, and this worker concurred there isn’t one. They were evicted by the landlord one month later and were still charging people. Turned out this same gym had done the same thing in this town about 10 years earlier.)

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